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Firefox 20 is out. I don’t blame you if you wait for 20.1.

I need to sync my haircut cycle with Firefox’s release cycle. It’s that time again. Version 20 is out, and it has some new features, but as frequently as dot-one releases follow new releases, I don’t blame you if you wait.

I usually update at least one of my machines right away, if only out of curiosity, but tend to let the others lag a day or two. Or a week.

And the most security-riddled program of 2012 was….

Secunia released its annual vulnerability review, a study of the 50 most vulnerable pieces of software in 2012. It was a fairly tight-three way race at the top, and the distance between #3 and #4 was huge.

I was actually surprised at who the top three were. They weren’t the three usual suspects. But in the case of the top two, they did, to their credit, roll out fixes within 30 days of disclosure.

So now that I’m killing you with suspense….
Read More »And the most security-riddled program of 2012 was….

Some computer maintenance for the upcoming family get-togethers

If you’re like me and do some computer maintenance for families during holiday weekends, the time to plan Easter computer maintenance is now.

Here’s some stuff I recommend doing to keep your non-computer-enthusiast relatives’ systems running smoothly. Be sure to bring your own laptop along, just in case. If a computer is too broken to get online or to get online safely, nothing beats a working system for downloading the stuff you need to fix it.Read More »Some computer maintenance for the upcoming family get-togethers

The men (boys) who spy on women through webcams

Ars Technica made a bit of a splash this week with this provocative headline. This is real.

The article gives the usual advice, like not opening e-mail from strangers, not clicking attachments from strangers, and not visiting dodgy websites. That’s all good advice, as is staying off torrent and other file sharing sites, but even all that is not enough.
Read More »The men (boys) who spy on women through webcams

Firefox 19 is a big security improvement

Mozilla quietly released Firefox 19 this week. Its biggest selling point is a built-in PDF viewer (like Google Chrome does), which makes me more comfortable than having Acrobat Reader installed–Mozilla is generally faster at fixing security holes than Adobe. Besides that, the built-in reader is fast. No waiting for Acrobat to launch. Short documents like IRS form 1040 display very quickly, though it wasn’t so crazy about me throwing the 237-page NIST 800-53 (if you’d like some light reading) at it. I closed the tab and revisited it, and it loaded the second time.

So this is an update you want. You may be wise to wait a day or two for it to stabilize (Firefox 18 was rapidly updated to 18.0.1 and 18.0.2 after its release), but being able to ditch Acrobat Reader (or leave it installed but only use it when absolutely necessary) definitely is appealing. Update it this weekend, maybe.

Read More »Firefox 19 is a big security improvement

The fix when Firefox won’t let you cancel a download

It’s frustrating when Firefox won’t let you cancel a download. It took me a while to find a solution, but I found one.

Here’s some background. I started downloading this monster file the other day, not realizing I didn’t have enough disk space to store the blasted thing. So I went to cancel it. The problem was, it wouldn’t completely cancel. It would keep trying to download until it filled up my disk, at which point other terrible things would happen. I couldn’t cancel the download, I couldn’t pause it, and I couldn’t delete it.

The solution, as it turns out, is to close Firefox. Next, go into your profile. To find it quickly in Windows, you can hit the Windows key + R, type %appdata% and hit OK, then navigate to Mozilla, then Firefox, then profiles. My profile was in a directory named wtkz7xzy.default. Yours will be similar. On a Mac or Linux box, your profile is probably in your home directory.

One you’re looking at your profile, locate the file called downloads.sqlite, and delete it. When you launch Firefox again, the list of downloads will be blank, and the download that wouldn’t go away will be among the casualties. And that will stop the endless loop like I had, or other bad Firefox behavior.

More tips

If Firefox has gotten a bit sluggish on you, I have a number of proven tips to speed up Firefox.

Yes, ramdisks still make sense, especially with memory so cheap

A former classmate and industry colleague dropped me a line a few weeks ago. He pointed out that memory is dirt cheap, and he bought 16 GB of RAM, just because it cost him around $100 to do, and was wondering what to do with it. A ramdisk, perhaps?

My search logs prove that ramdisks are the best-kept secret in the industry (virtually nobody knows or cares about them), but they’re still the best way to increase the longevity or life expectancy of an SSD and an outstanding way to pep up performance. A ramdisk is 80 times faster than a hard drive, 60 times faster than a RAID array, and 10-20 times faster than an SSD.
Read More »Yes, ramdisks still make sense, especially with memory so cheap